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33<5                    LECTURES AND ESSAYS

matter came to the earth from outside, periiaps
with a meteorite. I wish to treat all hypotheses
with respect, and to have no preferences which
are not entirely founded on reason ; and yet,
whenever I contemplate this

" simpler protoplastic shape,
Which came down in a fire-escape,"

an internal monitor, of which I can give no
rational account, invariably whispers " fiddle-
sticks !"

I think, however, that the nature of the
evidence which makes spontaneous generation
probable is such that we cannot teach it in
schools except to very advanced pupils. And
the same thing may be said of the doctrine of
evolution as a whole, regarded as involving
the nebular hypothesis.

" Those who hold (says Tyndall) the doctrine
of evolution are by no means ignorant of the
uncertainty of their data, and they only
yield to it a provisional assent. They regard
the nebular hypothesis as probable, and in
the utter absence of any proof of the
illegality of the act, they prolong the method
of nature from the present into the past
Here the observed uniformity of nature is
their only guide. Having determined the ele-
ments of their curve in a world of observation
and experiment, they prolong that curve into